Attention Virginia Tech Hokie football fans!
Have you ever wanted to own a Frank Beamer-autographed football? Well here’s your chance! The Giles County Autism Focus Group will be auctioning a Virginia Tech gift basket that includes a football signed by non other than Frank Beamer.
The auction will take place at the group’s Autism Walk on Saturday May 4. Visit their Facebook page for more information.
The funds raised will be used to increase awareness about Autism and provide educational tools for local schools to use for children with Autism.
I have been thinking about this post for two weeks.
april is a difficult time of year for me. it has become a countdown of sorts. a mourning period. ”today’s, what, the sixth? ten days until the sixteenth.”
ten days until. four days until. tomorrow. today.
six years ago, today.
everything about that day is as vivid six years later as it was that frigid morning.
the way my spanish teacher got up from her perch on the desk in front of me to watch the line of police cars tear down the street, 120 miles an hour, sirens wailing.
the headline on my friend’s msn homepage that screamed MASSACRE.
the moment my heart stopped beating when I saw the hokie stone in the photos behind the bleeding students being carried out of norris hall.
all I wanted to do was get in my car and drive to my school. my home. the only place I had ever known as safe. the place I associated with my grandparents and football and some of the happiest memories I had ever had in my young life.
people still tell me that I don’t deserve to feel as deeply about today as I do, or that I’ll never understand what it was like, because I wasn’t there. but let me try to explain something to you.
there are 27,000 students at virginia tech. 32 students and professors were killed when a gunman entered their classrooms and opened fire for no apparent reason. that may seem like a small percentage. and I was not there that day. and yet:
mary read was my friend’s freshman roommate.
caitlin hammaren was my friend’s sorority sister.
austin cloyd was good friends with one of my close friends. my ex-boyfriend also knew her well and took her as his date to his senior prom.
henry lee attended high school here across town with another friend of mine. they knew each other well.
my mother is one of the best public relations people in the state. she worked with larry hincker for several years doing PR for the virginia tech grad school in the early 80s. the media response to april 16th was so overwhelming that larry called her personally to come help field calls and interviews. she worked unpaid 18-hour days for a week after that, giving statements to australia and china and france, going to debriefings with katie couric, getting coffee with wolf blitzer.
when she arrived in blacksburg that first day somebody (I still don’t know who, dr. steger or larry or somebody) informed her that they still had not reached two victims’ families. my mother was the one that finally spoke to julia pryde’s sister and had to tell her that her brilliant sister had been murdered in cold blood while she sat in class on a typical monday morning.
when I became a virginia tech student in the fall of 2007, I moved into a dorm with one of the survivors. when I joined my sorority in the spring of 2009, I became sisters with two survivors.
it is hard for me to put into words what I feel about this day. it is hard to explain what it means, what it’s changed about me. the things I’ve written above, I’ve never told anyone before.
virginia tech is a community unlike any other. we stand together, stronger than we have ever been. we laugh together, we cry together, we remember together. and this day, I think, is not just about our own remembering. it is about remembering our friends and loved ones that lost their friends. today I think not only about my own sadness and the way in which my own life changed, but the sadness I know my friends must feel in remembering the loss of their friends, their sisters, their roommates.
and that is the hokie spirit. that is living for 32.